Getting your garden ready for the summer may sound like a daunting task, especially since spring is still here. However, from my experience, I know that now it is just the right time for sprucing up your little corner of heaven on earth. Before you start dreaming about how you will organize some really great picnics in your summer garden, let me share with you a few things I have tried in the past and I know they work just fine.
Time to get your hands dirty
Sprucing up for the summer unfortunately includes some dirty work. I usually roll up my sleeves, I take a deep breath and start working. My garden is usually full of twigs, dead leaves and debris that I do not even know where it comes from. My goal, at first, is to have my garden all cleared up for the summer, and that means, no matter how much I dislike it, to get my hands dirty. Don’t worry, after a short while, you will not even notice, and the satisfaction of having a clean garden is second to none.
Dig up the weeds
I use trowels for small weeds, but in case you have to deal with some stubborn one, first dog a small hole around them, so you can pull them together with the roots from the ground. Just cutting them won’t cut it – pun intended – because they will just grow and grow and grow.
Fertilize – the rule of a bountiful garden
The soil has suffered through a lot, going through the cold winter and the rainy spring. It is up to you to restore the former glory of your garden. Get some fertilizer for your garden, and even some manure. The soil really needs plenty of rejuvenation after being put through so much trouble throughout the previous seasons. Use a pitchfork and a spade to work the manure and the fertilizer into the soil. Your goal is to have it penetrate the upper layers so that it can reach inside, where the succulent roots of the plants you want to grow will start feeding.
Limit the borders of your garden
It is also a good time to shape up your garden a little. Especially if you want to garden to stand out as a unique place, it doesn’t hurt to have some borders in place. Sharp lines will make your garden look manicured and well kept and you will absolutely love the way it looks.
I hope you will enjoy a perfect summer in your garden this year!
Throwing a party at home is the best way to get together with friends, have a chat, enjoy great food, beverages and have fun. However, organizing a party entails a lot of things, and decorations are part of the deal. Here are some ideas on how to decorate your house so that your next party is guaranteed to be a blast.
Should your party have a theme?
Depending on the time of the year when you are hosting the party, a good idea would be to have a theme for your party. Even if there are no special events, such as the Halloween or winter celebrations, you can still think of your party as a themed one. Usually these ones are a lot of fun, and you can think of decorations depending on the theme of your choosing. You can make your house look like a land of fantasy or go for a black and white theme. No matter what you choose, stay true to your theme and your guests will be impressed.
Decorations do not have to be expensive
One of the common mistakes many people make when they plan a house party is to spend too much on decorations. Instead of aiming for spending a lot, aim for choosing those decorations that will truly bring out the spirit of your party. Especially if it is a theme party, the decorations should reflect that. Do not overdo it either; if there are too many decoration hanging from the walls, the windows, the furniture, the ceiling lamp, and whatnot, the place will soon look cramped and inhospitable, so do not make this mistake.
Balloons and streamers always work
In case you do not want to over complicate things and go on the well beaten path, do not forget that nothing spells house party better than balloons and streamers. The more colorful, the better, but remember to place them strategically to convey the party spirit.
Play with lighting
The way the room where the party is being held or the entire house is illuminated can play a major role in successful decorating your home. Think torches, dim lights or anything in between ideal for creating a party like atmosphere. If you do not want to invest a lot in new lighting fixture, just cover your lights with tissue paper, to make the light appear more diffuse, or get a few color bulbs, to make everything look like in a fairy tale.
In the last posts, we talked about different ways of serving brunch, organizing a shower party and gathering everything needed for a birthday celebration. Today, I want to share some great dessert ideas that you can use for your home party, in order to impress your guests and have them coming back for more. Now, here are really nice desserts that you simply cannot go wrong with.
I personally think that the best desserts for home party are bite size ones. Everyone loves them, kids and adults alike, and they can make any party filled with excitement. One idea I like and I often use, especially when I have kids among the guests, is to make plenty of pie pops. They are like regular pops on sticks, but they are made of pie and they are filled with delicious ingredients. So, instead of serving slices of pie like anyone else you know, you can put a spin on this classic dessert and make small pops of pie filled with the ingredient you like best and enjoy how everyone is having a good time indulging in them.
Who doesn’t love mousse? The creamy texture, the delicious taste and a bit of fun presentation make mousse a no brainer when you want to pick the best dessert recipes for your home party. What you have to do for this recipe is to prepare the milk and the chocolate in a saucepan at medium heat and then process the mixture with the blender. And while this mousse recipe is very easy and you most probably know it, what you may want to hear is how to decorate each glass, so that your guests really enjoy your party.
Here is a thing I do: I take bits of fruits, preferably berries and I add them on top on the mousse, along with a bit of whip cream. The colorful ensemble is a smash hit with my guests each and every time!
What can be more fitting for a party than a bunch of chocolate cupcakes? If you really want to turn this dessert around and make it a brilliant choice for your home party, add a little twist. Place a mint candy on top of each cupcake and offer them to your guests.
Bite size desserts are the best, as I said before, so here is another quick idea: profiteroles! Small creamy puffs that are a delight for anyone, profiteroles can be decorated with anything you like best, from whip cream to liquid chocolate.
Have a blast at your next home party!
Need a fresh new way to have brunch, a shower party or birthday celebration? Instead of going through the hassles of ordering a birthday cake ahead of time, picking up the cake on party day, buying ice cream at the grocery store, finding enough space to fit all the ice cream in a crammed freezer, cutting the cake and scooping out the ice cream as quickly as you can and passing plates to a bunch of ravenous kids, why not just put up a frozen yogurt bar for your kid’s party? Cool huh?
Of course, like any special event, the party needs to come with some form of preparation if you are to ensure that everyone has a fantastic time. Oh, and by the way, thanks to this great site that gave me tons of info on healthy comfort food, I am now able to present you with valuable insights on how to organize a fantastic frozen yogurt party using a fantastic yogurt maker. A yogurt bar provides an extra fun treat, as it offers much variety while still being relatively unique. It is also really simple to set up.
Put the supplies together ahead of time.
If you intend to serve frozen yogurt, make sure to gather the supplies together way ahead of time. For this purpose, you will need plenty of clear plastic cups with a capacity between 10 and 16 ounces. This will give more room for your guests to put the toppings of their choice while preventing messes. If you plan to set up a yogurt bar during a formal event such as a wedding shower or fancy brunch, you may want to serve the frozen yogurt in plastic or glass flutes. You can get those from a dollar store or party store. You will also need bowls in which to place the toppings, spoons for each of the toppings, spoons for your guests, and labels.
Make a sign to put over your yogurt bar, along with labels.
You will want to put a sign that you can hang over the yogurt bar. This can just be a simple mantel sign that says ‘Yogurt Bar’. Once you have that taken care of, you will also need to make labels for the toppings so your guests know what each one is. Do indicate whether the topping contains nuts or other potential allergens. Vintage labels can be made on card-stock or simply handwritten on note cards.
Purchase the ingredients.
This is the fun part. If you have a yogurt machine, the ingredients for homemade yogurt are pretty basic. Then, you should also decide on different toppings to use for the frozen yogurt. Homemade yogurt is easy to customize, what with the wealth of ingredients you can get. You can even make everything much healthier by having fresh fruit toppings, or to indulge the sweet tooth of your guests, have some less healthy ingredients such as sweets and candy toppings.
You can prepare from two to four flavors of yogurt. For fresh fruit options, you can have blueberries, peach chunks, sliced bananas, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Or you could go for dried fruit selections including raisins, blueberries, pineapple and mango. You may also serve nuts such as pecans, almond slivers and chopped walnuts. In addition, you can have original, maple-flavored or cinnamon -flavored granola.
For sweets, you should match the theme of the event to the sprinkles you use. You can also use chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, chopped candy bars, and honey. If you want your guests to be able to dollop a bit of homemade whipped cream on their personal yogurt creations, have some of that ready as well. Whipped cream is pretty easy to make using whipping cream beaten on medium speed till you form peaks, then adding a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar and vanilla. Blend the mixture well and refrigerate till ready for serving.
Set up what you need for the party.
An hour before your event, the non-refrigerated, dry ingredients should be placed in proper bowls, with the appropriate label in front of each bowl. All serving utensils should be placed on the table. The signs for the toppings should be hanged up. A full half hour before your guests come through the door, all fresh fruits are to be sliced and put in bowls as well. You can then place the frozen yogurt in the serving bowls. The fresh fruits and yogurt should preferably be kept refrigerated till eating commences.
Hosting a party at home may seem like hard work for many, but not if you do a little planning in advance. Making a list of guests and cleaning the house are important chores, but when it comes to serving food, do not hurry to picture yourself toiling in the kitchen all day long. A few clever ideas can take you a long way, and I will share them with you right away.
It may not be so easy to keep your guests excited all the time and being a host takes more than just personal charm. Yet, you can unload the heavy burden from your shoulders if you know how to entice your guests with some tiny treats that will excite the senses and keep them going for more. Think of mini-pizzas, tapas and other Spanish inspired dishes, just to get you started. The tiny bits will melt in everyone’s mouth and create the best setup for a successful party.
Cook it yourself
For this you definitely need some kitchen tools. The host often sees herself or himself as being the only one who has to cook or serve. But you should not push yourself in a corner with this type of attitude. Actually, many people enjoy putting together their own meals and they love getting involved in the process of preparing food. A great idea is to get a raclette grill, the type intended for parties that can accommodate 8 people around it with ease. The guests will instantly take a liking at the unique grill that lets them enjoy fondue and cook their own meats and veggies. What you should focus on is to always have enough ingredients to keep your guests happy, well fed and busy.
While searching for ideas on how to use this type of appliance, I stumbled upon a website called Kitchenettejen. They offer educated advices regarding the best raclette grill or how to choose a good quesadilla maker. There are many ideas for raclette grill recipes there and loads of tips on how to use the appliance, and it helped me a great deal with the parties I have hosted at home ever since.
The best centerpiece: a chocolate fountain
Another appliance you should get if you want to spend less time in the kitchen while having your guests entertained is a chocolate fountain. Besides making for an exquisite centerpiece, a chocolate fountain offers endless possibilities. Just like with raclette grills, make sure there are plenty of crackers, fruits and other foods that can be combined with chocolate for a delightful taste. I have found plenty of hot ideas on how to use my chocolate fountain on the website mentioned above, and I suggest you try it, too, so you can host a successful party with minimum effort.
Go for memorable cocktails
Going for a full bar is so yesterday’s news. If you want to host a party at home and make it a real success, skip the full bar and go for a single cocktail, but one that is so exquisite and sophisticated and unique that your guests will commend you on it. Mixed with the recommendations listed above, your signature cocktail will make your party one to remember.
Although it was back in the Winter, I’ve wanted to do a post on one of the most amazing dining experiences I’ve ever had. Because it was exactly that, not just a fancy meal, but an all out, no-holds-barred experience that I feel lucky to have been invited to.
My boyfriend Olivier managed to score 2 tickets to visionary chef Grant Achatz’s restaurant Next. The thing that makes Next so unique, aside from its insanely inspired food, is that it is redone every 3 months to become a completely different restaurant. New theme, new menu, new decor, everything. And considering we were given 2 tickets (sold online only) in a restaurant that seats 62 people a night and had 6,000+ on the waiting list at the time, scored is an understatement. So, always having wanted to go to Chicago, we booked flights and a night at The James hotel, and away we went. Below are some highlights outside of dinner at Next in our 30 hour stint in the windy city.
Along with the tickets at Next, we were booked a reservation atAviary, the cocktail bar next door. The bartenders are trained as chefs here, producing cocktails with an emphasis on food, being produce, spices, herbs, etc. Not only were the cocktails creative, original, and delicious, but the presentation of each one was beautiful. After cocktails, we were escorted through a curtained doorway into Next. I felt like we were entering Alice’s Wonderland of the food world.
I’m not going to get into the exacts of the food, it would take me forever considering there were 28 (!) courses. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do it, and hit a lull around course 20, but I did all of it.
Not to worry, most were just a bite, or foam, or ice. It was like the greatest hits of El Bulli. Most of it I loved, and a few I didn’t. But I can say that I was never bored, was constantly inspired, and enjoyed every single minute of it. I can also say that the option of the mixed pairing which included sake, wine, beer, & sherry was an awesome alternative to the traditional wine pairing, although it made for a wicked case of the giggles around course 16 or so. It felt more like going to a dinner theater than a restaurant, all the way from the service, the food, the catalogued menu, the tour of the kitchen, and even being given our expo ticket (which tracked our service individually down to the minute from the time we sat down.) Would I fly to another state for 1 night for a dinner again? If it was anything like my experiences at Next, absolutely.